Today I had the privilege of talking to Sage Adderley Knox, who grew up in a creative household. Both her parents were artists, so creativity was normal in her life.
Her foray into writing began in the Zine community. Sage says this is a world of its own within Indie publishing. The joy with Zines, she says, is that they are rough and ready, raw and authentic.
When Sage first got into the scene, she used good old-fashioned pen and paper. These days, however, young Zinesters create digital editions. For Sage, there is now right or wrong way, as long as they keep being created!
Not only does Sage write YA fiction, and is currently writing the third book in her The Triple Goddess Series, but she helps other writers find their feet in the book community.
Sage is a writer’s coach. She noticed that a lot of her clients had trouble actually opening their projects and working on them. There was a lot of Imposter Syndrome going on and feelings of inadequacy.
That’s when she pivoted and focused on helping writers move past those limiting beliefs and set themselves free to write the book they want.
For example, many writers worry about getting it right. They don't like the idea of not being in control or feeling out of their element. By focusing on the here and now, her clients feel confident about working on the step they’re in now.
Once the book is written, Sage helps writers produce and market their books.
Production is formatting the text on the page, writing the blurb, designing the book cover for ebook and for paperback.
It’s getting the ‘product’ ready for publication and placement on the self.
Marketing side is all about finding readers. It might seem counterintuitive, but writing the book is often the easiest part of the author's life. Finding readers and making an income is even harder, and this is something Sage helps her writers do.
An example of how she does this is by organising Blog Tours for her writers. She says this is great for visibility of the book and creating relationships with other writers and book bloggers. It’s a way of building community and feeling like you belong.
Blog tours are different from Vlog Tours. They are text based and are usually an interview about the book being promoted and the writer’s life. So, for the more introverted writer this is a less stressful way of marketing their book.
Finding The Writer Within is Sage’s annual online summit. It’s a free and convenient way for new writers to discover those with more experience and who have knowledge or expertise that helps writers build their confidence and their skills.
Cosmic Smash Books is a specific way of creating that Sage uses within her Storytellers And Wild Creatives membership programme. In our conversation together, she tells me what it involves and just how it helps her clients.
Finally, if you are interested in attending an online writing retreat, Sage is hosting later this year (2021). If you go to her website and sign up for her newsletter, you’ll get the details as and when they are released.
I really enjoyed my conversation with Sage. She is a true creative with boundless energy, a joy for colour and a passion to help writers.
Connect with Sage:
Sage Adderley (sageadderleyknox.com)
Sage’s YA books - https://amzn.to/3utp7PN
Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/emmadhesi)
Hello, I'm Emma Dhesi and welcome to another episode of turning readers into writers. If you're brand new here, welcome. And here's what you need to know. This is a community that believes you are never too old to write your first novel, no matter what you've been up to. Until now, if you're ready to write your book, I'm ready to help you reach the end, I focus on helping you find the time and confidence to begin your writing journey, as well as the craft and skills you need to finish the book. Each week I interview debut authors, editors and industry experts to keep you motivated, inspired, and educated on all things writing, editing, and publishing. If you want to catch up, head on over to emmadhesi.com, where you'll find a wealth of information and tools to help you get started. Before we dive in, this week's episode is brought to you by my free cheat sheet 30 Top Tips to find time to write. In this guide, I give you 30 ways that you can find time to write in the small gaps that appear between the various errands and tasks and responsibilities that you have in your day to day life. I know you might be thinking that you don't have any time to spare. But I can guarantee these top tips will give you writing time you didn't think you had. If you thought writing always involved a pen and paper or a keyboard. Think again. If you thought you needed at least an hour at a time to write your manuscript. I help you reframe that you won't be disappointed. Get your free copy of 30 Top Tips to find time to write by going to emmadhesi.com/30 Top Tips. Okay, let's dive in to today's episode, Sage Adderely is a masterful writers coach who is passionate about guiding people on their writing journey. She has over 17 years of creative writing, self publishing and book marketing experience. Sage is a certified cosmic smash book guide and hosts the annual event finding the writer within she resides in the magical land of the Pacific Northwest where she swings over the breathtaking view of Mount Rainier, as well as being a writers coach and a published author. She's a mom of three rad humans, a coffee lover, and a vintage typewriter collector. Sage gets excited about kindness and snail mail, or snail mail, something we could all do with a little bit more in our lives, slowing things down a bit. So I had the opportunity to talk to Sage about her journey to writing about the businesses she runs and the ways that she helps writers. And I'm interested also in a little bit more about her cosmic smash book guide and what she can tell me about that. So let's find out more. Yay. Well, sage, welcome and thank you so much for joining me today.Sage Adderley:
Hey, Emma, I'm so excited to be here.Emma Dhesi:
So I've wanted to start as I always do, really is by asking my guests, you know, what was your journey to writing and creativity? How did you get started?Sage Adderley:
Well, I come from artists, parents, both of my parents were artists, and my dad wrote poetry and I don't really think when I was younger, I recognized how cool that was that I had a dad that was writing poetry until I got older. And I was like, Oh, that's so interesting. That's cool. My first job was a page at my local library. Like from the gate, I was super nerdy about books and writing. And so creativity was a norm in my life. Like to express myself through mixed media art is my my fun thing. So it really started young and at home.Emma Dhesi:
And so did you because you you're a writer, as well, and our listeners won't be able to see but I can see your beautiful art behind lots of vibrant colors and things. But I know that you write young adult fiction too. So the sort of writing side of that, did that come at that young age as well? Or did that come to you a bit later.Sage Adderley:
So I dabbled in writing, but it was really when I was introduced to the Xen community that really shifted everything. For me scene are a whole different world in themselves of independent publishing. It's like, these handmade stories where there's no pressure of editing, all the things that I think people feel that pressure with book publishing, it's off the table, like the intention with scenes is to be raw is is to be super authentic and and I love that you put them together using your hands so it's got the writing piece and the art piece which then I'm super lit up. So that's where I really started exploring, like personal essay nonfiction style writing. And then that led me into self publishing. And then that led me into writing my first book.Emma Dhesi:
I see, I see. Also you went into publishing the scenes. And then into fiction. Yeah, I'm not kind of I don't know much about the scene world is that you mentioned there, you know that it's sort of cutting and pasting and being very visceral with your hands. If does that still happen in the digital world? Or has it kind of moved on a bit?Sage Adderley:
Yeah, the digital world has definitely shifted the scene community and the process. And I think there's like the, the old schoolers of the scene community who are very much still like print is the way to do it. But then you have this whole new generation of teamsters, who are have only learned digital, and so I don't see there's a right or wrong way to do it. I think it's powerful, however, you want to create it, but there still, a scene community, it's shifted, it looks different, but it's still there.Emma Dhesi:
Lovely and I always like hearing about these other pockets of a real niche, and passionate people who are doing something that they really, really love. Just for that, just for the sake of the love of it. Really. Yeah, yeah. So you, you, you help writers in many, many different ways. And I do want to kind of look at a few of them today. But one way I wanted to start was by asking you about your coaching, because you do coach writers and I coach writers too, but I think we approach it slightly differently. And our emphasis is on different things. So I focus very much on the book itself and getting the story written and getting someone to the end of that book. But I think your approaches is quite different. And I wonder if you'd share something about it.Sage Adderley:
Yeah, I think that I started out much where you are, and what what you're teaching. And then what was coming up for me as my writers were having issues, just getting to the paper, just getting to the document. And I thought, well, hold on, there's something happening here. This is coming up again and again. And so you know, I think one thing when you're working with people, when the most valuable things you can do is listen, listen to them. And so I listened, and it was, it was their mindset, the mind. And I thought, Oh, this is where I get to dive deep with them. This is where I get to go first. Because if they're in a space where they can't even show up to write, how do I help them write their book. And so then my whole kind of curriculum, I use that loosely, like curriculum shifted, where I became more of a mindset coach with writers specifically, I helped them with their book and on the journey, but we're really honing in on mindset.Emma Dhesi:
So could you give me an example of one or two sort of common fears or common obstacles that some new writers have, and a possible way to sort of get around those fears?Sage Adderley:
Yeah. So I mean, the one that comes up is getting it right. Wanting to get it, right. And so you know, there's, there's the writer that I see that wants to collect all the information, wants to make sure they know every step of the journey. And it's really just like, you know, wanting the there's the fear of getting it wrong, there's a fear of not being capable, there's a fear of, they're out of their element that imposter syndrome really sets in and so working through it is truly identifying and helping people understand what writing a book looks like. Like really understanding, we don't just sit down and the book comes out. And we're like, woohoo, it's done. Like it's a whole process. And so really, for me, I know when, you know, I worry about something, it's because I don't have the information to really, you know, make a choice that I think is going to be a good fit for me. So I try to give my writers as much information as possible, like, hey, let's talk about what's coming up for you. And let's talk about what step Are you in right now you're envisioning, so we don't have to worry about marketing that will come. But let's like, Come back to center and focus on the stuff you're actually in.Emma Dhesi:
Huh? That's such good advice and advice I need to take myself as well, I still do that still jump ahead to what feels like the exciting bit when it's out in the world. And but actually, I need to focus on what's at hand right now. Whether that be first drafting, whether that be revisions, whatever it is, but it just yeah, try not to jump ahead and worry about everything. Right, maybe I can zoom in on the now and just focus on what's in front of my nose. Really.Sage Adderley:
Yeah, I think that's good advice for all of us. It's easy to do...Emma Dhesi:
And so talking about just mentioning You know, jumping ahead and thinking of the marketing say, that's another area in which I know that you do help writers and some of some of my listeners might be surprised to know that actually, the marketing and the promotional elements of of book writing of authorship of being a writer is actually knowing how to market your book, knowing how to find readers crucially. And so that's something that we can all do with a bit of help with, and and you do that with, with your company as well. And I know that you do it in sort of two ways. There's the packaging side, and then there's the marketing side. I wonder if you could speak a little bit about what the differences between the two? Yeah, start with that, first of all, what's the difference between this sort of packaging, and then the marketing side?Sage Adderley:
Like the, The book production piece?Emma Dhesi:
Yes, yes.Sage Adderley:
Awesome. Yeah. So until your stories publishing, I have a team of made up of editors, book formatters, and graphic artist for book covers. And so I get to offer packages where somebody doesn't have to worry about book production, they can buy a package and get everything they need. And in the end, they get their files, and they can go wherever they want, and print and distribute worldwide with those files. And then I also have the marketing piece. And so the marketing is like I have something where I help people build in 30 days, to 30 days, it's really a breakdown of 30 things that I recommend all new writers do to start building their author platform, and then also offer virtual blog tours to help people kind of introduce themselves to the book world specifically. So I do play a role from vision to marketing, and you know, do do a bit in that whole entire journey.Emma Dhesi:
I want to just jump back a little bit when you were talking there about, you know, the the park, the packaging, and the production side of it, just for those who aren't maybe familiar with what's involved there. So what is it that it would be the book cover? And that would be perhaps for for a digital version, as well as a print version? Is that right? And then what do you do?Sage Adderley:
Yeah, so that, yeah, so with the editing, it would be your standard copy at it. And with the formatting, that would be a formatting for digital and formatting for print. And for the book cover, it would be an ebook cover, as well as a full front spine and back cover for a paperback. Um, and I think it's really what I would love to add is I, I love having this package to offer people and I'm a big fan of authors being in control of their books, and being in control of the money that they create from their books. And I think when you have your files like that, you're not just putting all of your eggs in one basket. Like sometimes people say, Well, I could just go to Amazon and upload this, and it does it for me. And that is an option. And that is a totally valid option. And I really love the idea of thinking about where do you want your book, like all of the opportunities you get. So having your files, I just love taking ownership of like your journey as an author? Does that make sense?Emma Dhesi:
Yes, no, it does it does is one of the reasons that I opted to go down the indie route rather than pursue a traditional One was that element of control. And yeah, I succeeded or failed, it was on on my terms, and I was in control of that. So and the flexibility as well that you get with the indie space that you don't really get in the traditional space as much. Definitely. Yeah. Yeah. Thanks for just kind of clarifying. Yeah, production side. And because I think once we, when we're writing our first book, in particular, many people spend years on it, and it becomes this baby. And it's very precious, and we want to hold on to it forever. But then we have to have this sort of mindset shift from having this precious baby of ours, to actually this becomes a product that becomes a commodity and asset for us. And we have to switch gears, switch hats and think, Okay, how is the best way I can make this product look and produce this product? And then the next step, then is that marketing side you mentioned before, which is finding the readers a place to put it where people can find it and access it. And you did also mention blog tours just before as well. So again, I wonder if you can fill us in on what a blog tour is, if somebody hasn't come across that before, and the ways that it can be helpful to a new writer particularly.Sage Adderley:
Yeah, so I've been helping authors create and organize and run blog tours for almost 10 years now. And there's been a big shift of what it looked like 10 years ago and what it looks like now. So for me blog tours are not something that it's money focused. I think 10 years ago, there was more of creating sales, some blog tours. But where I feel like our industry is now in marketing is now blog tours are a great way to, to gain visibility. And to make connections with other authors with book bloggers, book bloggers are golden, they usually run their blogs and websites, free of charge, like they don't charge authors, they do it as a labor of love, because they love reading so much and promoting authors. So blog tours allow you to just start developing deep connections. And I think collaboration is key with marketing. So a blog tour is visibility. And it's having you go out into this new book world, because it's probably super new to a lot of you and start making those valuable connections that where you get to support you know, other authors or other book bloggers, and they get to do the same for you and so to me, that is two of the most important reasons why I would recommend an author, you know, move forward on a blog tour?Emma Dhesi:
Well, certainly, I've certainly discovered it in my own writing life so far that relationships are so so important. And make the journey so much more fun as well and feeling that feeling less isolated. Now I know a lot of writers too are introverts and blog tours. Are these still as they sound that it's a blog, it's a written interview or written article about your book, or has that switched to video now?Sage Adderley:
Well, I think there are opportunities where you can go on like a bloggers, you know, space. So for me, I keep it on websites, like any kind of book blogs mainly is the type of platform I work with, with my authors. And so authors have the opportunity to have their books spotlighted. They have the opportunity to have interviews, be a part of interviews, which they would be submitted questions in advance so they can answer it on their own. So it's nothing live or real time. But those opportunities are out there for authors who want to get stretchy and put themselves out there.Emma Dhesi:
That's good to know. Because I there certainly there are there are those writers who are keen to do that. And then there are others who are no, no, I'll just do the writing. Thank you very much. So it's nice to have that option. That's enough. So let's say yes, no, they are another thing that you do to help writers is to have a wonderful annual event called finding the writer within and I wonder if you tell us about that as well.Sage Adderely:
Yeah, so I'm finding the writer within is a week long online summit that I do where I bring in, I usually have a vision for each one. And so I think about who would best serve this vision that I have for the online event. So for example, the I just finished up my fifth finding the writer within summit. And so it was really about nourishment. I think post 2020 a lot of my writers were looking for that nourishment to get back on track with their writing. So I brought in speakers talking about visioning, talking about self care, things that I felt would really support the intention of it. So seven days online, it's free. It's my gift that I give every year. And speakers come and we do an interview style, or most of them lead a workshop. And it's fun. It's a great way to introduce other teachers and writers and speakers into my community. And it's just it's a cool break some home break.Emma Dhesi:
Yeah, new summits are great fun, and it's such an easy, comfortable way of getting some wonderful training from people who are experienced authors themselves or experienced practitioners in another way that can benefit us or coaches or editors. I think there are a marvelous thing and particularly because they tend to be free it's just means they're so accessible to everybody. And there's always I find when I attend them, there's always at least one nugget from each speaker that I can take and that some one thing they say to me that resonates I think, aha, Okay, that makes sense to me. I can use that in my own life. So I said yeah, for sure. And you're also work with cats cat z. Yeah. In cosmic smash booking. And this looks at a really fun adventure. I've been looking at the website and it's looks amazing. Tell us about that as well.Sage Adderley:
Well, cosmic smash booking was just like, as I mentioned before, with my love for scenes that that mix of braiding and art well cosmic smash Clicking just takes it to this super higher level that I just fell in love with instantly. So for me, the way I describe cosmic smash booking is it's an intentional creative process. So scrapping the idea you have to be an artist to participate writers or creatives, we get to take ownership of that. And so cosmic smash booking is this place where you can vision pieces of your story, you can play around with character development, it's great for those writers like me, who learned visually, and so or they need that visual kick to get the creative juices flowing. And so you can create a page around characters, you can create pages to stimulate setting ideas. And you can also intentionally go to a cosmic smash book page and create something around limiting beliefs that are coming up. And so it's a step by step process. It's, you know, anyone can do it. I mean, if you have paper and pen, that is enough. It's just a beautiful, intentional process. I use it as a tool with my writers. I think it's just like I said, between visioning and mindset work, it's it's so valuable.Emma Dhesi:
And so is this something that attendees we do on a weekly basis? Do you sort of sign up for a package if you like? Or is it something people can drop in and out of?Sage Adderley:
Yeah, so right now I'm offering the cosmic smash booking I have a Online Writing community called storytellers and wild creatives. And so we, we smash book every week together. So sometimes I just check in with everybody and I'm like, where are we at? Let's do a check in and then there's always this common thread going on with all of us. And so I'll say, oh, it sounds like we get to do a page about releasing, or we get to do a page about this. And so we'll do a page together. And within that hour, we you know, I walk through the page and talk about the steps and so it's, uh, you know, I've got a, I've got a juicy idea about doing a cosmic smash booking retreat for, for authors, specifically around their book and book creation. So I have so many ideas.Emma Dhesi:
Sounds great. So storytellers, and writing creatives. And this is where you do your cosmic smash booking. So if people wanted to find out more about that, is that on your website?Sage Adderley:
Yes. If you if you go to my website, for sure. I'm always sending information about about what I'm up to, if you sign up for the newsletter that goes out, and storytellers and wild creatives is an annual membership community. And you know, sometimes people like annual I have to sign up for a whole year, but the intention is connection and relationship building with other authors. And so I think that's important. I think like you had mentioned, writers tend to be introverts, we tend to do things on our own. We tend to be lone Wolfers. And so this community really brings in this possibility of a space to just authentically show up and what's, what's coming up for you as an author. Yes, we get to write together Yes, we get to do the author things. But there's this realness that I think we just don't get enough of with other creative women.Emma Dhesi:
Oh, that's lovely. We'll I'll be sure to put a link to that in the show notes. Absolutely. So you've given us a lot today, you're clearly a very, very busy woman. But you're still a writer at heart, you write yourself. So I know you're writing a young adult series. Would you tell us about that?Sage Adderley:
Oh, yeah, so I'm writing a young adult series. My first book was called invoking Nonna. My second one is sisters in the craft, and I'm working on my third book now. So it's a young adult magical realism series about three generations of women set in the 90s. And the 70s, and the 50s, it shifts and so we get to see the daughter, the mother and the grandmother and really explore in those different areas, their spiritual abilities, and, you know, really them understanding what they mean. And then seeing the generational tie over the years, and there's a drama and magic.Emma Dhesi:
Yeah, I love that you started with the 90s, which would also be classed as historical Now again, and then move back and we get to know each generation. That's lovely idea. I like it. Yeah. Now we're coming towards the end of our time together, but in your biography in your bio that you sent you and you mentioned that you are a vintage typewriter collector. And so I'd love to know what the interest is in vintage typewriters. And what's your favorite make or model?Sage Adderley:
Well, it's the my favorite one is my cursive typewriter. I even after collecting typewriters, I didn't realize there was cursive typewriters and when I received a letter from someone The Xen community because one of the beautiful parts about the zinc community is very, it's very hands on more sending actual letters through the post office than emails. And so there's this magic of getting mail when you're an adult. That's not Bill's right. And so, but she had, she had typed her letter to me on a cursive typewriter, and I was just like, on a mission to find a purse of typewriter. And one day, I walked into our local antique store, and it was sitting there, and it worked. And so that is my favorite, but it's just beautiful. It's just like a work of art when you're typing on that thing. And I don't know, I think when I was a teenager, I went through a big Beat Generation phase where I love to be writers. And I mean, they were just classic writing on typewriters. And so I think that's where the obsession, collections started.Emma Dhesi:
They've got a sort of aesthetic beauty about them, don't they? They evoke a very particular period in time, and a kind of coolness about them. Yeah, I like it. I like it. And well, just around as authentically, as do let listeners know where they can find out more about you. And actually, and your online writing retreats, where can they find out about that online?Sage Adderley:
Oh, yeah, yeah. So I'm gonna start sending out some information about the writing retreat that I'm hosting next month. And if you go to Sage at early knocks on k kn o x.com. You can sign up for my newsletter, and I send out information and I like to think my newsletters are fun and non annoying. And, and but I'm always but yeah, that's, that's something that I'm planning. Next, I'm super excited about being able to offer that retreat. So if you hop on to the newsletter, you'll get the updates right away about what it's going to be to see if it's a good fit for you. And if you want to hop on and join us.Emma Dhesi:
Fantastic. Oh, that's wonderful. We'll say thank you so much for giving me some of your time today. I've really enjoyed getting to know more about you and what you do.Sage Adderley:
This was so fun. Thank you for the opportunity.Emma Dhesi:
Well, thank you so much for joining me today. I hope you find that helpful and inspirational. Now, don't forget to come on over to facebook and join my group, turning readers into writers. It is especially for you if you are a beginner writer who is looking to write their first novel. If you join the group, you will also find a free cheat sheet. They're called three secret hacks to write with consistency. So go to emmadhesi.com/turning readers into writers. Hit join. Can't wait to see you in there. All right. Thank you. Bye bye.